Saturday, 29 December 2012

Police probe plot against Mumbere

News updated at E-Society Kasese

Story by By Enid Ninsiima

Security agencies in Kasese District are investigating reports that a group of veterans have hatched a plan to topple King Charles Wesley Mumbere Iremangoma.
Security officials allegedly swung into action at the weekend following a tipoff by intelligence officers that plans were underway by the Rwenzururu Veterans to topple the king and re-attack Muhokya Police Station.
The district police commander, Mr Michael Musani Sabila, said police and other security agencies have been heavily deployed in places that could be of the veterans. “It is true we have received this information about the plans to attack these areas. We are already on the ground studying the situation.
Our intelligence network has already taken up the matter and we are investigating the motive behind their regrouping,” Mr Musani said. He added that the security agencies in the district were much more prepared to handle the matter should the veterans dared to attack the said places.
However, Rwenzururu kingdom spokesperson Patrick Nyamunungu said Rwenzururu veterans had no ill intentions about their king and the kingdom. “Those who had issues with the king came to the [Kingdom] prime minister’s office and the matter was solved. That is propaganda that could be politically motivated,” Mr Nyamunungu said.
He said the Rwenzururu Veterans were invited in the prime minister’s office and were told to go by the kingdom’s stand of allowing the split of Kasese District.


Nine companies bid to revive Kilembe Mines

News updated at E-Society Kasese
Story by By Faridah Kulabako

Nine companies have expressed interest to invest technical and financial resources to rejuvenate Kilembe Mines after decades of redundancy.
Speaking at a bids reception for the purchase of the mines on Saturday, Mr Jim Mugunga, the acting director Privatisation Unit, said bidders would be allowed to do due diligence to assess the needs and capital requirements to renovate and make the mine operational.
“Kilembe is a facility that closed many years ago and probably the equipment that was used in the 50s or 70s is no longer ideal today.
Bidders will evaluate and come up with the costing which they will present to government in their business plans,” Mr Mugunga said.
Kilembe Mines was established and incorporated as a mining company in 1950 and registered the highest copper production in the 70s when maximum output soared to an annual 17,000 tonnes.
The success, however, lasted until 1982, leaving the mine on a care-and-maintenance basis.
The company, owned 99 per cent by the government and 1 per cent by Toro Kingdom, is currently surviving on selling electricity.
However, government moved to rejuvenate the asset in November when the Privatisation Unit invited prospective buyers to confirm their interest for concession of the assets of Kilembe Mines, the company that operates the Kasese Copper Mine and a smelting plant in Jinja.
Mr Alex Kalimugongo, Team leader, Parastatal Monitoring Unit, Privatisation Unit said a successful bidder must have the technical mining capability that is required to restore the mine, must be able to raise the required capital and must have a good reputation.
Mr Mugunga said the request for proposals will be ready by January and the bidding process is expected to be completed by mid-next year.
The successful bidder will enter into a concession agreement with the government, take over the rehabilitation of assets, revive the mining activities and carry out further exploration activities.
Mr Fred Kyakonye, Kilembe Mines general manager was recently quoted saying years of redundancy have attracted encroachers who are stealing the property of the company, adding that presently, they spend much of their time frequenting court to battle over ownership claims of the assets such as land from encroachers.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Army on alert as ADF operations are exposed

News By: E-SOciety Kasese

The UPDF says the rebels have created new camps and made more recruitments as they plan to attack the government.

Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) is on high alert following reports that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) may strike western Uganda as the region concentrates on the talks between M23 rebels and the DR Congo government in Kampala.

The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, on Tuesday held a day-long meeting with UPDF commanders from the 2nd division in Kasese.
The 2nd division intelligence officer, Maj. Fred Wemba, told the meeting attended by the Daily Monitor that they “highly suspect” ADF might “copycat” what different rebel groups are doing in the region. He said in August, the rebels formed new camps in Samboko, Mambale to elude their activities in the old camps of Mwalika, Eringeti and Kikingi.
The creation of the new camps, according to Maj. Wemba, was to disguise their activities following a resolution by the International Conference on the Great Lakes region to form an International neutral force to be deployed in Kivu to fight different rebel groups, including ADF.
The current headquarters of ADF are located in Makayoba, Eringeti sector, North Kivu. The force is estimated to be between 500 and 600 strong. Together with families, CMI says they are about 1,000.
The military intelligence also released the new command structure of 19 top ADF commanders, with Jamil Mukulu remaining on top and Filipo Bogore Muzamil, who was given amnesty in 2000, becoming the head of special operations.
Other commanders are; Hood Lukwago, the army commander, Kasadha Amis is the deputy army commander and Baluku Musa is the Chief Judge and Chief political commissar.
Kayira Muhammad is the Chief combat operations while Benjamin Kisokolanio is the head of internal intelligence.
Documents seen by the Daily Monitor also show nine photocopies of Mukulu’s passports he has used with different names and numbers to evade arrest.
In one of the passport numbers, PP AO415126; he registered as a Tanzanian in the names of Julius Elius Mashaira. The last email account Mr Mukukulu used, according to the intelligence documents was
Other commanders mentioned in the dossier are; Albert, the head military intelligence, Sharif Twaibu, Director Finace and Special Adviser.

Kingdom minister held over forgery of documents

News By E-Society Kasese

Story By Thembo Kahungu Misairi & Geoffrey Mutegeki Araali.

Officials from the Inspectorate of Government effected the arrest and handed him over to police in Fort Portal

Police in Fort Portal are holding the Rwenzururu Kingdom finance minister, Mr Thembo Kitsumbire, for allegedly forging academic documents from the Uganda Management Institute.
Mr Kitsumbire, 58, who served as third deputy prime minister of the Kingdom two years ago, was picked from the kingdom offices in Kasese Town on Monday afternoon by detectives from the Inspectorate of Government head office in Kampala.
He was taken to Fort Portal Police Station, where he is currently being held.
Efforts to reach the information minister, Mr Patrick Nyamunungu, were futile as his known phone numbers were switched off. However, a source close to the minister, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said: “Detectives told us that he forged academic papers but could not give us details.”
Western region Police spokesperson Bakari Muga confirmed the detention but could not comment on the matter, saying it was in the hands of the IGG.

Parliament probes dispute between residents and park

News By E-Society Kasese
Story By Bridget Karungi

Posted  Wednesday, December 12  2012 at  02:00
In Summary
Land wrangle. The move follows a petition filed by residents neighbouring Semiliki National Park, who accuse the latter of displacing them from their land.

The parliamentary Committee on Tourism Trade and Industry is investigating a land dispute involving Kabarole residents and Semiliki National Park.
This follows a petition filed by residents to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, accusing park authorities of displacing them and demarcating their land.
The residents, through Mr Boaz Kafuda, the Busongora South MP, said more than 1,878 people in Kijura Town Council and Hakibaale Sub-county in Kabarole District had been evicted.
They also claimed that about six people in Katunguru Village, Kasese District had been killed by stray animals from Queen Elizabeth National Park in less than a year.
Last week, an eight-member team led by Burahya County MP Stephen Kagwera visited Kijura, Hakibaale and Kicwamba sub-counties and spoke with wildlife officials.
Mr Kagwera said the visit was to verify the merit of the petition as directed by Ms Kadaga.
In a meeting held at Katunguru Fishing Village, the residents said they left the area in 2000 after being attacked by ADF rebels.
The Hakibaale Sub-county chairperson, Mr Edson Businge, told the legislators that after the rebels left the area, the wildlife officials blocked residents from re-accessing their land, saying it belonged to the park.
The conservation body erected pillars and warned residents against encroachment.
The residents also said animals from the park always attack their gardens and homes leading to loss of lives and property. They appealed to the government for help.
The chairperson Kijura Town Council, Mr Nayera Manyindo, said they were facing a food shortage as they do not have land to farm.
The lawmakers said they would report their findings to Parliament for possible action.
However, the Kibaale Conservation area manager, Mr Edward Asalu, said land boundary disputes would be solved locally.

He asked the residents to hire private surveyors and if found that the park encroached on their land, then the demarcations would be revised according to the law.

Monday, 10 December 2012

MTN, hotel land case for January

News Updated at E-Society Kasese

The Kasesse-based hotel accuses the telecom company of erecting a mast on its land

The High Court in Kampala has set January next year for hearing a case in which Kasese-based Springs International Hotel is seeking to recover Shs6.5 billion from telecom firm, MTN over alleged illegal occupation of its land.
The controversial 0.032 hectares in Kilembe is part of the property formerly owned by the late Maj.
Gen. James Kazini.
The hotel, which is now owned by businessman Mukesh Shukurah, accuses MTN of allegedly maintaining a mast on his premises for 10 years and is seeking for a court declaration that the telecom giant is a trespasser.
According to the complaint, the hotel also wants court to direct MTN to remove its mast and an order of permanent injunction restraining it from the land.
However, MTN denies the allegations, saying it intends to raise preliminary objection during the trial.
The telecommunications firm alleges that the controversial land was acquired through a lease agreement with one Pascazia Kiiza and hence there was no trespass or illegal occupation.
“…the defendant (MTN) carried out due diligence and there were no objections against the construction of the mast,” reads part of the defence.
“And if indeed the plaintiff has suffered any loss which is denied, such loss cannot be attributed to the defendant.”
But the hotel alleges that at the time of construction, MTN knew or ought to have known that the land in question was not theirs and that they did not get consent from the complainant or its predecessors in title.
“The plaintiff contends that the defendant has ,through its trespass and illegal occupation of the said land conducted profitable business at the detriment of the plaintiff,” the complaint adds.
The hotel is being represented by M/s Murungi, Kairu and Co. Advocates while MTN will be represented by Kampala Associated Advocates.


District, kingdom, or vegetative central government; where does your loyalty lie?

News updated at E-Society Kasese
Story By Asuman Bisiika
In addition to corruption, the other legacies of this regime will be the creation of kingdoms and districts. From January 1986 to date, the number of districts has increased by more than 300 per cent. And since the number of kingdoms was zero in 1986, it is also mathematically logical to say that the kingdoms have also increased by over the same percentage.
In my corer of Uganda, where we had Tooro Kingdom, we now have two more kingdoms namely Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu, Obudingya Bwa Abamba. And where we had three districts in 1986, we now have seven districts namely Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Ntoroko and Kasese. So much is this craze for the kingdoms and districts that even communities that once boasted of their republican heritage now have kings.
In the case of the Tieng Adhola and Rwenzururu Kingdom, the kings leading these new kingdoms may not even share the blue blood associated with traditional feudal formations of old. And oh yes, even Buganda Kingdom now has two kingdoms in it. Ankole Kingdom has not yet been re-instated by the State; but they ‘revenged’ by creating more districts. As at 1986, Ankole Kingdom only had Mbarara and Bushenyi districts; now they have nine districts.
Yet in spite of what appears to be a strong opposition to the creation of more districts (and kingdoms), every new district created has a story and history behind it.
The creation of Kibaale District (carved from Hoima District) was intended to address lost counties issue. Kisoro was created for the Bafumbira Community while Ntungamo was created to ‘liberate’ the Banya’Rujumbura from Ankole. Which brings us to the split of Kasese. What are the historical reasons for the split of Kasese District? How come the idea of splitting the district is not popular in Kasese?
Kasese split
The Bakonzo of Kasese are divided into three groups namely the Bakonzo Basongora, Bakonzo Baghendera and Bakonzo Banyangetse (the lake people: Baholhu and Bakingwe have integrated into fishlore’s pseudo-urbanite culture).
The Bakonzo Basongora should NOT be mistaken for the distinctive cattle-keeping pastoralist Basongora community. Between River Nyamwamba and River Rwimi (Lhume in Lhukonzo) is the provenance of the Baghendera in Kasese District. And from River Nyamwamba up to River Lhubiriha (the Uganda-DR Congo border), is for the Bakonzo Basongora.
The Bakonzo Baghendera are also the dominant group in Bunyangabo County of Kabarole District, Bughendera County of Bundibugyo District and Karugutu Sub-county of Ntoroko District. With his origin in Bundibugyo District, King Charles Wesley Mumbere is a Mukonzo Mughendera.
Our research doesn’t show any record of a conflict between Bakonzo Basongora and Bakonzo Baghendera either in folklore or document. And the classification of Bakonzo Basongora and Bakonzo Baghendera has been dismissed by some people as mere academic labelling.
In common speech and diction, the Bakonzo Baghendera use a lot of Rutooro-Rwamba words and intonation while the Bakonzo Basongora use Lhundandi (Congolese ethnic Lhukonzo) influence in their common speech.
The dialectal variations in diction between the Bakonzo Basongora and Bakonzo Baghendera are very negligible. But what is NOT negligible is the apparent domination of the district political and administrative leadership by the Bakonzo Basongora. In fact it is NOT apparent; it is overly conspicuous.
Living in the frontline territories during tribal wars between Batooro and Bakonzo, the Bakonzo Baghendera faced the brunt of the Rwenzururu war more than the Bakonzo Basongora.
And whereas they (the Bakonzo Baghendera) constituted the bulk of fighter corps, the ideological and administrative leadership of the Rwenzururu Rebellion (now a Kingdom) was still dominated by the Bakonzo Basongora.
The Bughendera Question
“Give the devil his due,” said William Shakespeare. Dr Kiyonga has attempted to resolve the Baghendera Question. However, there are accusations that he is merely looking for supple and pliant cadres who would accord him total loyalty. That may explain why Kiyonga supported the seemingly weak candidature of Ms Rehema Muhindo (a Mukonzo Mughendera) in the recent by-election for District Woman MP.
The immediate former district chairperson, the Rev. Julius Kithaghenda, was a Mukonzo Mughendera who enjoyed the support of Dr. Kiyonga. But Col. Mawa Muhindo (a Mukonzo Musongora) ‘beat’ him in the NRM primaries.
Frustrated, the Rev. Kithaghenda plotted the split of the district as the only way the Bakonzo Baghendera could avoid the dominance of the Bakonzo Basongora. According the provisional boundaries, the Baghendera will have Rwenzori District and the Basongora will have the Kasese and Bwera Districts.


21 jailed for encroaching on forest

At least 44 people were on Thursday sentenced by the Kasese Magistrate’s Court for encroaching on a forest reserve. There were tears as some of them were handed a five-week jail sentence for encroaching on Mubuku Forest reserve.
The 44 people pleaded guilty before Grade One Magistrate Patrick Bamuhiga. They were arrested at the weekend for illegally partitioning 1,662 acres of the forest reserve located in Maliba Sub-county.
Some wives and children of the accused endured the mid-morning rain to protest before court but police deployed to kick them out of the court premises.
The magistrate, who had already made a ruling on Tuesday, went on to sentence 21 men to five weeks imprisonment. He also sentenced 19 others, who included women and elderly men, to one month of community service at the Rukoki and Bugoye health centres III.
Four people who included three juveniles and a disabled man were sentenced to caution. Their lawyer, Mr Geoffrey Sibendire, had earlier on asked court to give his clients a non-custodial sentence because they acted out of desperation over the scarcity of land in the district. But the presiding magistrate concurred with the state prosecutor, Mr Mike Mwanje, to hand the men a custodial sentence of five weeks to deter people who wants to grab government land.
According to Section 32 (2) of the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 2003, a person convicted of encroaching on a forest serves three years in jail or pays a fine not less than Shs600,000.

Friday, 7 December 2012

King Mumbere okays Kasese split

News updated at E-Society Kasese District LG
The king’s decision comes at a time when there are several petitions for and against Kasese split before the district council, Speaker of Parliament and the Minister of Local Government. The Parliamentary Committee of Local government and Public Service is yet to release a report on a series of consultations held in Kasese on August 28.  


Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere Iremangoma has accepted the split of Kasese into three districts breaking a two-year silence on the issue.
Majority of the subjects have been waiting to hear the king’s opinion on the matter after the district council on October 26, 2010 resolved that Rwenzori and Bwera districts be carved out of the present Kasese District.
After consultations at various levels in the kingdom, former prime minister Loice Biira Bwambale recommended that a special study be undertaken across the district on issues that could determine the split.
An October 1, 2012 letter signed by King Mumbere and addressed to the Minister for Local Government, Mr Adolf Mwesige, stated that the king had consulted his subjects who agreed that the district be split.
“I recognise that it is the central government’s policy to split large districts. For the case of Kasese, I did intimate the need to hold further consultations to build my input,” the letter reads in part.
It adds: “I wish to make it clear that I have held discussions with my people, including religious leaders, on the matter and we have agreed that the district be split into three, in line with the district resolution as earlier communicated to you by the then LC5 chairperson.”
In the same letter, King Mumbere said the boundaries should run from the mountains to the lakes to avoid any administration unit based on ethnicity.
However, some subjects accuse the king of betraying the kingdom by allowing the split, saying the institution was still being strengthened.
The subjects also accuse the king of allowing that a constituency be created for the Basongora as part of affirmative action.
However, the kingdom spokesperson, Mr Patrick Nyamunungu, said the subjects were politicizing the matter.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Rwenzoris get another nature walk in Muhoma

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site now has four trails and two nature walks, with the creation of the Muhoma trail, which is targeted at tourists interested in shorter trails. Photo by Felix Basiime. 
By Felix Basiime

News updated at
E-Society Kasese

While the Rwenzori mountains are a sight to behold, not many tour operators put them on their itinerary because it usually takes more than a week to enjoy a trail walk on any of the slopes. However, with the new Muhoma trail, tourists can enjoy a bit of the mountains in one to three days only.

I want to say that I’m just discovering Uganda, but this is a place I have to come back to,” said Rebecca Carter, who works with Usaid/Uganda. She added, “It is good the communities are benefiting from the tourism industry as they are taught to conserve the environment.”
Carter was talking about a new short trail, the Muhoma and the Geolodges’ Equator Snow lodge at Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Kasese District.
Getting to the trail
Sounds of River Nyamwamba greet your ears at this new tourist attraction that opened in August. Cater was excited after she trekked through the new trail.
The place can be reached about 10kms on Kasese-Fort Portal road, after which one branches left at Kasanyarazi and ascends 12kms on a dirt road, which is still under rehabilitation.
Muhoma Nature Trail was built by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) using funds from Usaid’s Sustainable Tourism in the Albertine Rift (Star) project and is the latest product in the national park.
The trail, that lets visitors enjoy one-to-three-day walks, traverses the lower slopes of the mountains up to Lake Muhoma, where the trail joins the existing Central Circuit trail.
About the trail
This is the fourth trail and the second nature walk in the national park tucked in western Uganda. The other trails include the Central Circuit, run by Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS), Kilembe, run by Rwenzori Trekking Services (RTS), and Kazingo Nature Walk trail, which has been the only trail open to all tour operators since the other trails are privately run. UWA manages the new trail and is open to all tour operators.
“The concessional trails are limited to contracted companies, but the new trail is open to anybody. You don’t need to go through a third party to use it,” said Fredrick Kizza, the park’s senior warden.
“This shorter trail is an opportunity for those clients with limited time. Because of the long time needed to climb the mountain, most tourist operators leave out Rwenzori,” he added.
The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination, which were recently voted among the world’s best hiking sites. The world heritage site is well known for its extraordinary flora and different vegetation zones. However, the mountain continues to struggle to attract tourists.
According to Kizza, in 2000, the park attracted a paltry 600 visitors. This number has since grown to 2,300, according to last year’s statistics. Kizza says the park has already attracted 2,285 visitors since January, a figure that is expected to shoot to 3,000 by the end of the year.
Attractions beyond the trail
With better facilities, the numbers are bound to go even higher. Geolodges have opened up their fourth lodge, the Equator Snow Lodge in Rwenzori Mountains National Park.
“We hope that the addition of these new tourism facilities and the trail will help to boost tourism to the mountains, increasing revenues for the people of the region as well as supporting UWA and Ecotrust in their ongoing conservation efforts,” said Mr Kaddu Sebunya, Usaid-Star’s Chief of Party.
Usaid-Star with support from US Forest Service, and in partnership with Ecotrust, UWA and Geolodges, also boosted the lodge with the construction of an information centre at a cost of $100,000 (approximately Shs260m).
The centre is a multi-function facility next to the park, providing information and services for visitors to be able to learn more about the park and the mountain, its people and their culture.